Humans aren’t the only organisms who love marijuana. Growers know about the other ones all too well: spider mites and broad mites, thrips, aphids, root aphids, whiteflies, powdery mildew, fungus gnats, and gray mold have visited most growers’ plants at one time or another. They can ruin a crop, or lower its harvest value and quality, in a very short time.
The battle against marijuana pests often does just as much damage to plants as the pests can, if not more. Some growers use poisons such as Avid and Eagle 20. These poisons are prohibited for use on legal marijuana crops that’ll be sold at dispensaries, because they harm consumers. They also harm growers and anybody else who comes in contact with them.
Ethical growers seek non-poisonous pesticides and fungicides, but are faced with a confusing, dizzying array of products and product claims. Many so-called natural marijuana pest control products contain Neem, horticultural soap, sulfur, or herbal extracts. Azamax, made by the Scotts Miracle-Gro company General Hydroponics, contains a Neem extract, is very expensive, and doesn’t always work well. Sulfur burners work well against powdery mildew, but are a big hassle and dangerous and messy to use.
Most non-chemical products used to fight aphids, thrips, mites and other insect pests must be applied every 2-3 days for 21 days or longer due to the hatchling cycle that can see you kill off all the adults but a new set of babies hatches a few days later, so you have to spray and spray and spray again. It takes work to mix foliar spray and root drench in an effort to save your marijuana plants, and many growers tried Azamax and other expensive control products and found they don’t work so well and are very expensive to use.
That’s why growers are fortunate to discover Sierra Natural Science (SNS), a California horticultural product innovator with actual chemists and botanists on staff. For 30 years, the company has been making holistic, safe, natural, effective products that help cannabis growers and growers of food crops protect their crops.
SNS told me they started their family-run business with a commitment to make all-natural products that work extremely well but aren’t toxic to plants, growers or consumers. This foundational commitment is supplemented by their dedication to science, organically-sourced plant-produced compounds (phytochemicals), and the most modern and sanitary manufacturing processes, quality control and packaging protocols so their products stay fresh and effective longer.
It isn’t enough to know that plant-derived compounds such as rosemary oil included in SNS formulas can be fractionalized to tease out components that deter spider mites, thrips and other cannabis attackers. You have to source organic rosemary, thyme, peppermint, alfalfa and other plant materials from the highest-quality providers, and work with them materials when they’re at their freshest.
Some people think you can just buy rosemary oil and other essential oils, put them into water, and spray them on plants. But it doesn’t work that way. That’s why SNS uses a customized, proprietary distillation and refining system that they call “The Dragon” to extract essential oils and other materials from organic plants known to have anti-pest and fungicidal properties.
Their scientists explained to me that you have to have the right botanical knowledge and goals so you know which plant-derived products work best together for specific applications. Then you have to source organic plant materials and properly extract compounds from them. That’s what SNS does, and it’s the only way to ensure batch consistency, interdiction effectiveness, and shelf life.
Before I discovered Sierra Natural Science products, I often had bad results when I used so-called natural products on my cannabis plants. I recall a Neem-product that was so thick it gummed up my plants leaves, interfering with their ability to transpire. When I used to use Azamax, the extremely oily viscosity of the product coated my expensive pH meter probe, leading to inaccurate foliar spray pH readings that harmed my plants.
There are other problems with pesticides and fungicides. In most legalized cannabis states, state regulators generate lengthy lists of natural and chemical pesticides and fungicides that can or can’t be used on marijuana. The federal government also has a say in which products can be used on consumable agricultural crops.
Grower can avoid worries about those lists because SNS has such high standards for its product formulas, ingredients, and manufacturing techniques that its products are exempt from EPA regulation. They’re designated as “minimum risk pesticides” that pose little to no risk to human health or the environment, and as such are exempted from the requirement that they be registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide (FIFRA) Act. Such exemption comes because SNS did the hard work to create totally safe products made from Nature. They also went the extra mile by instituting a heavy metals testing program.
And because SNS products are exempt from EPA registration, legal cannabis growers who are required to report use of EPA-registered pesticides and fungicides can use SNS products and save time and money because reporting isn’t necessary. Not only that, cannabis crops grown using only SNS products for control of pests, molds and mildews won’t contain harmful pesticide or fungicide residues that cause state cannabis regulators and dispensaries to trash buds due to toxic contamination.
Cannabis Pest Control Products With Long Shelf Life
If you’ve ever tried to brew your own compost tea, or used so-called natural pesticides and fungicide products, you’ve probably experience fermentation or spoilage. I’ve thrown away numerous batches of compost tea that I made myself, or purchased from a grow store, along with batches of root zone beneficial microbes and other products because they’d gone bad. The smell of rotten eggs isn’t what you want to smell when you open a newly-bought bottle!
SNS scientists explained why competing brands often fail that way. Raw materials can’t all just be thrown into solution together at the same time, stirred, bottled, and shipped, they said. Instead, the product’s components must be carefully added to solution in a certain order, at the right temperature, and with the right carrier materials. Otherwise, product spoilage happens.
Because I grow marijuana indoors and outdoors in a region where aphids, thrips, spider mites, budworms, powdery mildew and botrytis (gray mold) are commonly found in the environment, I’ve fought many battles to protect my marijuana plants.
No product, not even the ones growers should never use such as Avid and Eagle 20, will work all the time to stop all pests and pathogens. How you apply protectant products (such as time of day, particle size of spray or fog, parts per million concentration and pH of your foliar spray, and at what intervals you apply them) all affect how well the products work.
I’ve tested SNS against Azamax, Naturalyte, Safer, Safari 20SG, Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew and many other products, and have seen the obvious superiority of the SNS products, not just in stopping pests and pathogens, but in ease of use, plant safety, and cost/benefit ratios.
For example, I had three adult clones from the same motherplant that were infested with weird white aphids that looked like furry, science-fiction dinosaurs. I sprayed one plant with Azamax, one with horticultural soap and Neem, and one with an SNS product. I followed the manufacturer’s instructions for spray dosage, timing, and day intervals.
Of the three sprays, the SNS did the best to immediately shrivel the adult aphids and it killed hatchlings too. I quarantined that plant with others that had no insect infestation, and continued to use Azamax and horticultural soap and Neem on the other two that were sequestered in a different place. When I saw that the Azamax and the Neem/horticultural soap products weren’t working well, I started using the SNS formula, and only then did the aphids die and never return.
Now let’s take a brief look at some of several SNS products that deter and/or kill marijuana attackers:
SNS-203 is a concentrated anti-pest formula you can use as a foliar spray and as a soil drench to kill and repel fungus gnats, root aphids, thrips, whiteflies, and similar pests.It contains pure rosemary and clove extracts specifically made for horticultural use. SNS-203 also attacks fungi and algae that provide food for some marijuana pests. It kills marijuana pests directly by deleting their body fluids… turning them into crispy critters. You can use SNS-203 in pure hydroponics systems such as deep water culture.
As you may have had the bad luck to find out, root aphids are vicious and hard to kill.I recommend dosing your plants with SNS-203 as a preventive whether you suspect you have root aphids or not. It’s one of few products marijuana growers can use to stop root aphids.
SNS-209 is a systemic pest control formula that enters your plants and makes them taste bad so marijuana pests won’t want to eat them. The bad taste comes from rosemeric acid, which doesn’t harm your plants or you. This formula doesn’t kill pests on contact, it just makes your plants unappealing to them. You feed it to your cannabis plants from the start of growth and continue for 2-3 weeks. Then you discontinue use and administer the product again every 2-3 weeks. It can stay in your hydroponics reservoir and works fine with hydroponics nutrients.
SNS-217 comes as a ready-to-use and a concentrate, and it’s targeted specifically to destroy spider mites. Whereas many spider mite interventions, including Azamax, require multiple applications and don’t always kill the born mites and their eggs, SNS-217 does kill both!!! It’s wickedly and wonderfully devious how SNS-217 uses natural ingredients to dehydrate and kill adult mites while coating their eggs so that they never hatch. This is a foliar spray you need to lay on heavy. You can also use it every couple of weeks until a couple weeks into bloom as a fixer or a preventive.
SNS-244 is a potent fungicide that comes as a ready-to-use and a concentrate. It’s designed to kill fungi and mildew, and can be effective against powdery mildew and even gray mold. Not only does it stomp fungi and mold spores, it also strengthens your marijuana plants so they can better resist fungi and molds.
Sierra Natural Science is one of the “good people” companies that serve the marijuana grower market. As we’ve noted in other articles, there are too many scammers in our industry. When we contact a manufacturer of a product or products sold in grow shops and ask for customer support, technical information, and solid proof that their products are properly made and perform well, and they ignore us, we suspect it’s because their products suck, and they don’t want anybody asking questions about them.
In contrast, the people at Sierra Natural Science are friendly, transparent, grower-centered, scientifically-minded, and committed to making products that stop mites, aphids, whiteflies, thrips, powdery mildew, gray mold and other cannabis enemies in the safest, fastest, most cost-effective ways possible. The SNS team is made up of honest people who work passionately to innovate safe, natural products that help marijuana growers guard their plants to ensure clean, huge harvests. They know how important organic, safe materials are, especially for organic marijuana growers. They enjoy talking to growers and are happy to explain how best to mix and match their products to protect your crops the most.
Some final notes on using SNS products:
- You can use them for longer, and more safely, in bloom phase than you can use other marijuana control interventions.
- Some SNS products can be used to spray down grow room equipment and other materials to eliminate pests, molds, and mildews.
- Always use reverse osmosis water in your cannabis garden and especially when creating foliar sprays using Sierra Natural Science products.
- Please note that foliar spraying against marijuana pests is best done at the end of your lights-on cycle, or an hour before the cycle starts. If you’re growing outdoors, do foliar spraying an hour before sunrise or when dusk arrives.
- Don’t do foliar spraying when lights are on or when plants are in full sun.
I love the attractive natural smell, efficacy, and easy usability of Sierra Natural Science, and your marijuana plants will too. When you no longer see sap-sucking insects or crop-ruining outbreaks of powdery mildew or botrytis gray mold, you’ll be glad you used Sierra Natural Science formulas. Check out this YouTube video for more information about these excellent marijuana plant protection products…